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Midwest Gaming Classic brings decades of playable gaming history to Milwaukee

A wide shot of a convention floor with thousands of people milling around among various gaming machines, including arcade cabinets and pinball.
Midwest Gaming Classic

This weekend, March 31 through April 2, the Midwest Gaming Classic will transform the Wisconsin Center into a living museum for all things gaming. Attendees will find thousands of vintage video games, tabletop, arcade cabinets and pinball — all playable with the cost of admission — plus a sprawling vendor area.

The event will occupy all three floors of the convention center, spreading over 200,000 square feet, and is expected to draw more than 20,000 attendees from all over the world, with many coming from Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, according to a news release. Visit Milwaukee estimates the event generates $2 million in tourism for the Milwaukee area.

A group of people at a covention crowd around a Sonic the Hedgehod pinball machine as one person plays.
Midwest Gaming Classic

You don't have to be a super gaming nerd to appreciate the convention. I consider myself more of a "medium" gaming nerd, to the extent I've watched a few hours of gaming history content on YouTube and just finished 1994's "Super Metroid" for the first time (albeit with a little help from the internet). And it turns out that's the exact audience co-founder Dan Loosen aims to attract.

"Very early on, we were trying to target more of the hardcore gamer," he said. "And hardcore gamers are great, and if you're a hardcore gamer, I hope that you come to my show, too. But the hardcore gamer, it's harder to make them really impressed by something. So instead, we are going to target the people that want to just share in the memories, and to pass this on and interact with others that love this stuff."

Loosen and I sat down for an in-depth preview of the convention. Listen to our conversation above, check out the ticketing options below, and follow this link for more information.

  • Mar 31 — Preview Night from 6 p.m. to midnight, limited events opened, vendors closed ($45)
  • Apr 1 — Full show from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ($50)
  • Apr 2 — Family day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($25)
  • Multi-day passes ($60-175)

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee